VANCOUVER — The race for the top Canadian player in the NCAA is down to the final vote. Five Canadian athletes are on the final ballot for the fifth Jon Cornish Trophy as selected by a panel of voters from across Canada.
All five of the finalists list their home as the province of Ontario. The winner will be announced through Football Canada and the TSN Krown Gridiron Nation YouTube channel on April 19.
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HERE ARE THE FINALISTS:
Chase Brown – Jr./RB
After a slow start, the London, Ontario native caught fire and led Illinois with 170 carries for 1,005 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns, along with 14 receptions for 142 receiving yards in 2021. He finished third in the Big Ten in rushing yards per game (100.5), Fifth in the Big Ten, and 27th in the nation in rushing yards per carry (5.9).
The two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week Ran for 223 yards on 33 carries and one touchdown at #7 Penn State to help Illinois win the longest game in college football history (20-18, 9 OT). Brown’s 223 rushing yards at #7 Penn State were the most ever by an opponent at Beaver Stadium and the fourth-most ever against Penn State and were the most ever by an Illini against a ranked opponent.
He registered a Career-high 257 rushing yards on 26 attempts and two touchdowns with an average of 9.9 yards per carry against Charlotte, joining Howard Griffith (1990) and Rashard Mendenhall (2007) as the only players in program history with multiple 200-yard rushing games in a single season.
He was recognized on the All-Big Ten third team (coaches and media), PFF All-Big Ten third team, and Phil Steel All-Big Ten third team.
Jesse Luketa – Sr./LB
The Ottawa-born Luketa was a leader on a dominant Penn State defence, playing both defensive end and linebacker in the 2021 season, showcasing his athletic versatility. In 12 games, the third-team Big Ten selection registered 34 solo tackles, 61 total tackles, 8.5 TFL, and an interception return for a TD against Ball State. Standout games included, a five tackle, 2.5 TFL, and two QBH effort at Iowa; a 1.5 TFL and four tackle game at Michigan State; and a nine tackle, 1.0 TFL game against Arkansas.
An explosive lateral athlete with impressive run-stopping ability, Luketa looks to be selected on NFL Draft day.
Nick Mardner – Jr./WR
2021 proved to be a breakout year for the Football North grad out of Mississauga, Ontario. Mardner started all 13 games with the Warriors (913 yards on 46 receptions, for 5 TD and a 19.8 average), earning a Mountain West honourable mention. He registered three +100-yard games, all on the road (6-110-1 at Oregon State, 4-120-1 at New Mexico State, and 4-139-1 at UNLV) and three +five reception games (at Oregon State, five vs. San Jose State, and vs. Colorado State).
Mardner exercised the transfer window in December and will play his 2022 senior season in Cincinnati.
John Metchie III – Jr./WR
Last year’s winner of the Cornish Trophy followed up 2020 with an even better 2021. The native of Brampton, Ontario, started 13 games in 2021, garnering second-team All-SEC honours with a team-high 96 receptions (1,142 yards, 11.9 per rec., eight TDs) before suffering a torn ACL in the conference title game (6-97-1) and missing the team’s playoff run.
He piled up four +100-yard receiving games; versus Arkansas (10-173-1), Auburn (13-150, along with two, 2-pt. conversions), Tennessee (11-121-2) and Mississippi State (7-117-1).
Metchie was born in Taiwan; his mother is Taiwanese, and his father is from Nigeria. His family moved to Ghana when he was young, then emigrated to Canada when he was six years old.
Played in 13 games, starting four and finished second on the team in receptions (47), receiving yards (658) and receiving touchdowns (tied with six). A former high school quarterback, he was also utilized on gadget plays and finished 2-of-3 passing for 36 yards and a TD.
The native of Peterborough, Ontario matched his career high with 100 receiving yards (on five catches) against Western Michigan. He twice equaled his career high of six receptions: Massachusetts (for 55 yards) and Miami (78 yards and a TD). He had five receptions for 81 yards and a TD at Duke.
He threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Lucas Krull at Tennessee, giving Pitt a 14-13 lead. He also connected with Krull on a 20-yard completion against Wake Forest in the ACC Championship Game.
|2017-18||Nathan Rourke||So./QB||Ohio Bobcats/Oakville, ON|
|2018-19||Nathan Rourke||Jr./QB||Ohio Bobcats/Oakville, ON|
|2019-20||Chuba Hubbard||So./RB||Oklahoma State Cowboys/Sherwood Park, AB|
|2020-21||John Metchie III||So./WR||Alabama Crimson Tide/Brampton, ON|
– With files from Football Canada